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7 Easy Stages Of Game Development

Jan 25, 23  |  Bakhtain Afzal

Let's take a ride down memory lane and remember our favorite game, which we loved playing all the time. Despite the differing game genre, pixelated screens and muffled sounds are a blast from the past.

Simultaneously, the 90s kids would agree that Pac-Man, Fireboy, and Icegirl were their top picks when it came to entertainment kits. These tricky puzzles and deadly traps had the power to keep us hooked to the screen for hours. 

Interestingly, no matter whether it's the nostalgic games or the recent popular ones, all of them passed through 7 stages of game development to reach the top boredom crushers list.

Undeniably, every game has a different structure and requirements, which demands a tailored solution. For this reason, the development cycle remains the same - it's where the developers cut their way through the fiercest development challenges.

This comprehensive article provides a glimpse into the game dev cycle along with the game development timeline example that lays the foundation for a game that synthesizes a virtual artifact.

What Is Game Development?

The stages of game development refer to the creative process of developing interactive games that describe the original game design. The game dev cycle involves numerous steps ranging from an iterative process of theoretic concept modeling to immersive playable reality.

Game development can either be undertaken by a game development firm or an independent developer. Either way, the goal is to develop a digital product that successfully integrates User Interaction elements and user engagement with an interactive experience.

The Game Development Process Flowchart

A comprehensive game development process flowchart is, in fact, a process of developing a game from initial concept to completion. However, it will be explained in detail in the next section, where we discuss the game development timeline


The planning stage will cover:

  • What is the genre of the game development project?
  • What is the development budget? 
  • What is the target audience? 
  • What platform will it be launched on? 


The pre-production phase is all about action involving:

  • Storyboarding 
  • Tech Stack 
  • Early game prototyping 
  • Scheduling the development milestone


It’s the stage where all the hard work starts translating into a reality, covering:

  • Designing and laying out the main phase gaming outline 
  • Selecting the Audio, creating game graphics and adding visual effects 
  • Game Physics and mechanics 
  • Game development and including real-time rendering features


The game is play-tested and developers note any uncovered errors, such as:

  • Identifying game bugs
  • Analyzing game difficulty and engagement


It focuses on creating a buzz around the game by:

  • Releasing the Alpha and Beta versions
  • Strategizing a marketing approach


Finally, the game gets released before looking into:

  • Squashing of program bugs 
  • Last minute polishing 
  • Releasing the game to the public


This step consists of everything that comes after a successful launch of the game, such as:

  • Squashing minor bugs
  • Game patching 
  • Releasing game updates

The 7 Stages of Game Development Explained 

Despite the  games being polar-opposite, they are bound by an imperative factor - the game development process. To elaborate on the game development process flowchart, here are the 7 stages of game development.

  • Planning 
  • Pre-production 
  • Production 
  • Testing 
  • Pre-launch 
  • Launch
  • Post-launch 


Before rolling the dice to game development, a dynamic gaming environment demands the creativity of a full-fledged team. This may involve everyone from concept artists that lay down the game narrative to program playtesters. Mainly, the planning game stage encompasses creative think tanks capable of building a game concept into a playable reality. 

Simply put, this stage signals a smooth development pipeline and stable architecture on which the game designers and developers base their games. 


The pre-production game development stage is where it all comes into action. The game app developers effectuate the project scope; meanwhile, the game designers sketch out storyboards and design game prototypes. Ultimately, it directs towards a genuinely immersive game that promises to stand out of the flock.

Here 4 different roles lead in the pre-production game development stage and make the end result look like a magic wand wave.


The game theme and genre should be reflected in the art style and color palette, i.e., your game's interactive gameplay environment. To illustrate, if your game is scary and dark, like the Icarus game roadmap, you want your artists to use something other than bright, summery colors.

Game Developers

The game mechanics and physics, as well as how it handles models and objects, need to be confirmed and locked down by game developers. Some of these pre-production game development decisions require artists, writers, and engineers, depending on the game’s storyline and gameplay.


Engineers are required to communicate about project requirements and limitations. For example, the writers might want cinematic storytelling that the game engine can't render. On the other hand, the developers may wish for game mechanics that eventually cause performance errors in the long run. And in this stage, the engineers must set limitations that support real-time rendering while aligning with the gameplay requirement.

Project Managers

Project leads are the mediators of a game project - balancing the needs of each team, making decisions, removing obstacles, and ensuring everyone is on the same page.


Writers need to draft the narrative game experience, game characters, and their dynamic environment. The script impacts the art, gameplay, and mechanics.


This is the longest game development stage in the overall game development timeline. To summarize, it is where the set down game model translates into a real-time rendering gaming experience. 

Here are the steps taken during this longest game development stage: 

  • The game designers and developers form a collaborative experience by writing the code for event-driven programming. These steps should align with the creative game storyline, art direction, and gameplay mechanics.
  • The main characters of Non-player Characters (NPCs) are designed, rendered and finally, animated.
  • Sound designers create music and sound for games. For example, the bleeps and bloops of the menus and the creaking floorboards your characters walk on.
  • Writers run the final edits in the primary phase gaming script to formulate an outstanding gaming interface. 

The production phase is where concepts effectuate in a life-like reality. Still, it's also where your ideas are tested, and critical decisions are made.


Although the game development process step by step follows a guideline where program playtesting sounds like a fun process, it's a head-scratching procedure. In short, it is putting the program through rigorous tests and debugging it. 

The 4 prominent cases that need to be addressed at this game stage are: 

Game Rendering Issues

Do the settings and objects appear where you expect them to? How quickly do they occur? When there's too much action, does the framerate drop? If the scenarios mentioned above are true, this is where the playtester starts squashing bugs. 


Are there any chances of a player getting stuck due to an in-game error? Ideally, players should immediately return to the game, allowing them to completely immerse themselves and have an uninterrupted gaming experience - and that's what stocks are really about.


What is the difficulty level of your game? Is the gameplay too easy or too hard? For example, the Icarus game roadmap serves an ideal challenging gameplay experience for its players, and its difficulty levels are the main user-attraction factors.

Game Script and Acting Errors

Is everything in your game grammatically correct? Are the game characters acting per the script and the main phase gaming storyline? During this stage, make sure everything is up to the mark and works as per the play action of the game. 


In the pre-launch phase, advertising efforts are ramped up in preparation for the game launch. You should now have a playable beta version of your game to present to the public.

When this game development timeline example is almost near completion, the release date is both an exciting and nerve-wracking part. You can finally display all your creativity and hard work you've put in. 


Finally, the wait is over and it's time to release your game. At this stage, just run the final game checks, apply the final polishing coat, and you're ready to provide your audience with a total gaming experience. 

Here are the final touches you should be giving at this game stage: 

  • Debug any remaining bugs in the program.
  • Implement minimalistic game improvements. 
  • Include final aesthetic and visual touches to game characters and the main phase gaming elements.


This might come as a surprise if you predicted the game development timeline was limited to the "game launch". To your surprise, that's not it. Instead, there has to be quite some work done in the post-launch stage:

Debugging and Bug Fixes

In case you didn't squash minor bugs in the pre-launch stage, this is where you can resolve functionality issues, add bug patches and tie the loose ends.

Game Updates 

Suppose you've hired a game development firm to transform your concept into a dynamic game. Ideally, you should expect game updates, patch fixes and add engaging gaming experiences for a better User Experience. 

Downloadable Content

You can stay up-to-date with the latest gaming trends through downloadable content. And offer engaging gameplay challenges to incorporate complexity to retain player engagement.

What Is the Alpha Stage in Games?

Other than the 7 basic stages of game development, there's a long list of game stages' vocabulary and the deeper you go, the more there is to know. One is the “Alpha stage” in the game dev cycle

It refers to the earlier version of the digital product that aims to synthesize immersive visuals and simulative experiences. An Alpha version is very different from the final "ready-to-launch" game version. These versions can have bugs and errors, which is perfectly fine. 

To summarize, it's a rough project version that illustrates the project concept. 

What Is the Beta Stage in Games?

A Beta version denotes a milestone of the game development process step by step, similar to the Alpha version, which may have bugs too. Yet, this is a finer version than Alpha, it still can have errors like implementation. Despite that, a Beta version is considered an almost complete game project. 

A prototype version precedes this version, and online publishers release beta software versions to the public. The main aim of the Beta version, similar to other game stages, is to invite players to play a game, submit reviews and report any issues the developers can address in the pre-launch stage. Hence, Beta versions offer two-way incentives, i.e., it plays a pre-launch marketing role and efficiently attracts player engagement.

How To Start Developing Games From Scratch?

Today, various tools and resources are available for game developers. Even as a beginner starting from scratch, you can quickly learn game development if you've a knack for it. Here’s a beginner-friendly game development process step by step:

Have a Game Concept

The games that new programmers enjoy playing often serve as a source of inspiration for them. For example, you can take inspiration from the Icarus game roadmap to develop a basic survival game or go with a genre that genuinely excites you. 

Choose a Game Engine

Now you need to choose the best game engine which proves a higher level of user accessibility.

For example, game engines like Unity or Godot are the best beginner-friendly game engines. They come with a simple UI, i.e., a visual user interface. Meaning you can develop games even if you can't code.

Build a Prototype 

It's time to get down to business and begin development. Producing a minimum viable product is your objective, aka MVP. Simplify everything until you're left with just the fundamental mechanic or concept.

Develop the Game

You have a small game with solid, uncomplicated gameplay, engaging Audio and captivating visuals. Now that you've it all, get started with developing your game, and that's all.

What Does a Game Development Pipeline Signify?

Simply put, the game development pipeline is a step-by-step process from the ground up. The stages of game development serve a similar function to a manufacturing assembly line. Where it’s ensured that everyone’s on the same page regarding task requirements and its deadline.


What Is the Longest Developed Game?

Duke Nukem Forever took 15 years to develop, making it the game that involved the longest game development process.

Which Are the Seven Basic Areas of Video Game Design?

The seven stages of any video game design are:

  1. Game Environment 
  2. Storyline
  3. Characters 
  4. The game's look and feel 
  5. Content 
  6. Audio
  7. Quality Assurance (QA)

What Comes First in Game Alpha or Beta?

The Alpha version comes first as it's made available to the public before the "Beta release" updates of the game.

Final Note 

The game development pipeline, also known as a game design service pipeline, is an evolved procedure with years of trial and error. Today, the game development timeline example aids studios to develop and produce new games more efficiently with a higher level of game rendering and immersiveness.

While game development is an evolved procedure of building simulative games that successfully give a life look and feel - game development companies are facing a definite surge. And finding the best one can be an exhausting task. To help you with that, Distinguished, a B2B service, can help you connect with a list of top game development companies that can translate your idea into reality.

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